Time for a Bipartisanship Approach to Lowering Drug Costs

By: Lalani Hunsaker

Last year, Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats passed H.R.3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which imposed international reference pricing on some Medicare perscriptions. I am worried that introducing foreign price controls will have a negative impact on the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as well as other drugs already in testing and production.

The preliminary Congressional Budget Office analysis indicates that H.R.3 would reduce the number of new medicines coming to market and could drastically decrease research and development budgets. Granted, the analysis does say that in the near-term drug costs will be reduced, however, it does not account for the additional costs that would burden families due to the unavailability of lifesaving and cost-reducing new medicines. Furthermore, the Council of Economic Advisers found that HR3’s price controls would impact as much as one-third of the drugs under development and the California Life Sciences Association believes this will cause a workforce reduction of 80,000 jobs just in their state. I am worried that the bill does more harm than good.

On the other hand, the bi-partisan Lower Costs, More Cures Act also lowers the cost of drug prices while also encouraging new cures and treatments. It incorporates dozens of vetted, bipartisan ideas to update our federal policies and programs so that Americans get better prescription drugs prices. The changes in this legislation would also cap Part-D plans and allow enrollees who reach their out-of-pocket maximum to pay it in monthly installments. Under the modernized Part D program, enrollees would have Part D plan options that pass more of the discounts on to them, have peace of mind that insulin would only cost up to $50 per month, and would not face an Obamacare cliff scheduled to add an extra $1,200 to drug bills.

The Lower Costs, More Cures Act is better for seniors and we should encourage our Senators to support it.  

Lalani Hunsaker is the founder and President of the East Valley Women’s Coalition.


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